COMPANIES in Zimbabwe are still being heavily affected by the influx of cheap imports from countries such as China, South Africa and India, despite government having introduced Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016 to counter that, NewsDay has established.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
Briefing Industry minister Mike Bimha during tours of companies in Bulawayo yesterday, the businesses said imports were still being smuggled into the country despite SI 64 of 2016 having been promulgated.
“We have been highly affected by an influx of imports and this has affected our production. We have been struggling in the past five years. What is worrying us is that imports are still coming in despite SI 64 of 2016 having been introduced. There are loopholes in the implementation of the SI, for example, importation of fabric reinforced belts disguised as steel coded belts,” General Beltings general manager, Joseph Gunda said.
He said his company’s performance has been affected. Gunda said their plant was closed for one-and-a-half months and workers were sent home, as there was no business.
“The workers were called last week due to orders we received from local mines. Current orders, valued at $300 000, will be completed by August 17. Thereafter, there will be no work, we will have to send workers home again,” he said.
Gunda said, given strict and full implementation of the restrictive measures on imports, their company would be a success story of government intervention to revive the manufacturing sector within a short period.
Mealie Brand managing director, Walter Chigwada said they have lost market share due to competition from cheap imports.
He said producing a plough locally costs $58, but imported ones land in the country at only $35.
Chigwada asked the government to include companies in the agriculture sector like his, in the SI 64 of 2016.
Bimha promised to look into the issues.
“The environment has been very tough due to imports and, as government, we are working very hard to ensure that local industries are capacitated,” he said.
The tours were held on the sidelines of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries 2016 annual congress, which kicked off yesterday in Bulawayo.
Government recently introduced stringent regulations meant to control the importation of goods that are available locally. The regulations were gazetted under SI 64 of 2016 by the ministry of Industry and Commerce.
The CZI congress is running under the theme Strengthening Value Chains for Sustainable Industrialisation and Economic Development. The congress ends tomorrow.